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Kinks Drummer Mick Avory Remembers Bassist Pete Quaife

The Kinks
Hutton Archive, Getty Images

Saturday (June 23) marks the second anniversary of the death of Pete Quaife, the original bassist for the Kinks, who passed away on June 23, 2010 at the age of 66 due to kidney failure. In a new interview, Mick Avory, the group’s drummer from 1964 to 1984, remembers his partner in the Kinks’ rhythm section as being “quite unpredictable.”

“He’d turn up to gigs separately from the rest of the band on a scooter, dressed as a mod,” he told Classic Rock. “He’d take a later flight than the one he was booked for. He grew square tomatoes, he shaved off one of his eyebrows for a TV show and he went on a month-long tour of America with just a small handbag.”

Quaife founded the Kinks in 1961 with schoolmates Ray and Dave Davies. His time with the group was often stormy. Avory says that Quaife tried to rise above the infamous fighting between the Davies brothers, but it eventually caused him to leave the band in 1969.   “When disagreements happened between Ray, Dave and Pete he wouldn’t shout back at them,” he continued. “He knew he couldn’t beat them and it would just lead to irrational arguments, so he’d taken it on the chin. He’d look defiantly at them and try to rise above it.”

On Saturday, Avory will participate in a fundraiser, the Lighter Side of Dialysis, with his band, the Kast Off Kinks. The charity purchases e-book readers and portable DVD players for dialysis patients. A recent ruling has prohibited books and newspapers from entering dialysis wards due to a risk of infection, but electronic devices are acceptable due to the ease of sterilization. The title refers to two volumes of cartoons drawn by Quaife while he was undergoing treatment.

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